• Idit Nathan

Postcards postcards and more postcards

Updated: Feb 17

This was one of numerous postcards I found in the Homerton archive that inspired me to think of postcards as a way of connecting with college community. It was created 1990 as part of a fundraising appeal by the college*. There was something about the closeness of gathering bodies that was so sharply contrasted with the ways we interact nowadays, that caught my eye.

It reminded me, maybe because of the strong sense of emergency and desperation of very different postcards, those left in public spaces across Berlin by Otto and Elise Hampel, challenging Hitler's regime during the second world war. Their amazing story is retold by Hans Fallada in his novel Alone in Berlin. [an article with some images of the postcards can be found here]

Both these (very different) instances felt pertinent to our troubled times. I also felt that these days when more is happening in what we’ve come to call ‘real life’ - as if life can be anything but real– offering something that can be touched and scribbled on as opposed to the virtual interactions we’d gotten used to- might be a good way to try and get responses from the college community.

In the past I’ve made several artworks that use the postcard and there is something about the combination of the visual and the textual that I am interested in. Postcards, especially if strewn along a pathway or encountered in unexpected places can potentially draw attention. They also offer anonymity which I thought would help open up the conversation.

So now I await the Homertonains' responses....


* Professor Peter Cunningham adds ‘the Victorian ‘Cavendish’ buildings were found to be in extensive need of repair, following years of neglected maintenance. A fund-raising appeal was launched as a large-scale social event. Aerial photography by the college Registrar (a qualified pilot) was accompanied by displays of curriculum and activities around the college, a concert in the Great Hall, and a dinner. It raised a good sum of money and refurbishment was successful, saving the college’s future at a critical moment approaching its centenary in Cambridge. No lion-taming involved, but definitely tight-rope walking!'

Here's a 'work in progress' photo of Homertonians lining up ahed of the photoshoot on a sunny day in 1990.

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